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Subject: Swiss pairings question rss

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Jeremy York
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Having just run a 46 player regional tournament, I wanted to ask for opinions from experienced tournament organizers and attendees. Here are my questions...

Did I mess this up, or not? Do I owe an apology to the person who didn't make the top 8 as a result of how I did the pairings? What's the best method in general for resolving this kind of lock?

Sorry for the length, but I figured it's better to lay out a bunch of details rather than do a bunch of Q&A...

Here's the scenario. Names have been changed to protect the innocent. This was a 46 person tournament, so I'm just going to focus on the top 8 going into the fourth round, plus a couple of other notables. We were under considerable time pressure due to start time and the venue hours, and so I had decided on four rounds of Swiss cutting to top-8 finals.

After round 3, I had the following :
(Player, prestige, who they played in rounds 1, 2 and 3)
(when I say they played X, it was a lower-ranked opponent who didn't factor into the pairings or the eventual finals)

Alpha, 18, played X, X, and India (India was eventual winner)
Bravo, 16, played X, Hotel, and Juliet (Juliet was seeded 6 in finals)
Charlie, 15, played X, Delta, X
Delta, 15, played Kilo (past tourney winner), Charlie, X
Echo, 14, played X, X, X
Foxtrot, 14, played X, X, X
Golf, 14, played X, X, X
Hotel, 14, played X, Bravo, X

Charlie and Delta had the unusual score of 15 because they had won their first two matches 6-0, and been paired against each other; in their match, they tied exactly, putting them both at 15.

The most natural Swiss pairing would be Alpha vs Bravo, Charlie vs Delta, and so on. But this wasn't possible since Charlie and Delta had already been paired.

My pairing procedure was a combination of excel formulas and a macro, that created a pairing number by adding a random number to the prestige, sorting based on that pairing number, and then pairing consecutive players in the resulting sort. As I had tested my spreadsheet, I had decided in advance that my default to break a deadlock was to add 1 to the pairing number of the top-sorted person who was locked, regenerate the randoms, and resort. Effectively promoting a randomly chosen locked player into the next level of prestige.

In this case, after running pairings once, and having some conditional formatting to tell me it was an illegal pairing, I did what I described above. For purposes of pairings, I treated Charlie as if he had prestige 16, re-randomized and re-sorted.

This led to the following pairings (with the prestige results of the subsequent match) :

Alpha (18) vs Charlie (15), Alpha wins 6-0
Bravo (16) vs Delta (15), Bravo wins 4-2
Echo (14) vs Foxtrot (14), Echo wins 4-2
Golf (14) vs Hotel (14), they tie 3-3

And the resulting prestige after the match was :
Alpha 24
Bravo 19
Charlie 15 (did not make top 8)
Delta 19
Echo 18
Foxtrot 16 (did not make top 8)
Golf 17
Hotel 17

Meanwhile, India and Juliet won their 4th round matches and got to 18 and 17 prestige respectively, and made the top 8. 17 prestige was the cut-off for the top 8, with one person tied at 17 falling out due to worst tie-breaker.

After the match, Charlie complained to me that I should have paired as follows :
Alpha (18) vs Bravo (16)
Charlie (15) vs Echo (14)
Delta (15) vs Foxtrot (14)
Golf (14) vs Hotel (14)
A variety of other pairings like this are possible, the above is consistent with the random numbers I had generated for pairing this round.

Anyway, Charlie felt the pairing I made cost him a spot in the finals. If he had brought this up after I posted pairings, but before the round started, I'm not sure what I would have done, but there would at least have been a chance for me to adjust things...

What do you think? And, what is the best way to achieve or evaluate pairings that get around repeat matches while preserving the intent of Swiss? Should I promote down instead of promote up? Something else? Given the time pressure involved, it's necessary to have a rule that can be applied easily, or reliably automated, so I begin by rejecting feedback that says I should sit and study and evaluate the pairings before going live.
 
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Eric Rampson
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As far as I understand it (which could be completely wrong as I'm very new to this whole running tournaments thing), you should have paired Alpha v Bravo (1 v 2), then, when the pairing of Charlie v Delta was out because they had played already, you should have, indeed, paired Charlie v Echo and Delta v Foxtrot. You pair down, not up, so to speak, because you SHOULD be able to declare a winner via Swiss only (by running 2^X = Number of players rounded up, so five round for 17-32 players, four for 9-16, three for 5-8, etc.) and, in order to do that, you MUST default to the top players playing each other when possible (in your example, Alpha v Bravo). You, in theory, gave Alpha and Bravo easier matches for no good reason. If Alpha and Bravo had already played each other, your pairings would be correct.
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Explosive 6
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From my understanding I would have expected it as Charlie described.

Pair off 1st and 2nd
Pair off 3rd vs 4th but they already played, so 3rd plays 5th
then 4th pairs with 6th
7th vs 8th etc.

You only look back up the rankings to pair if you can't get a match going down is how I've always seen it done.

Assuming the pairings were all done before hand and you had listed the points by the players, then Charlie should have said before the match imo.
 
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Tobin Lopes
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Scud-O wrote:
As far as I understand it (which could be completely wrong as I'm very new to this whole running tournaments thing), you should have paired Alpha v Bravo (1 v 2), then, when the pairing of Charlie v Delta was out because they had played already, you should have, indeed, paired Charlie v Echo and Delta v Foxtrot. You pair down, not up, so to speak, because you SHOULD be able to declare a winner via Swiss only (by running 2^X = Number of players rounded up, so five round for 17-32 players, four for 9-16, three for 5-8, etc.) and, in order to do that, you MUST default to the top players playing each other when possible (in your example, Alpha v Bravo). You, in theory, gave Alpha and Bravo easier matches for no good reason. If Alpha and Bravo had already played each other, your pairings would be correct.


This is correct. Charlie and Delta had played so you pair Charlie with the next lowest that he hadn't already played (Echo). Then pair Delta with the next lowest he hadn't played (Foxtrot).

-tpl
 
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Sonny A.
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I agree with Charlies pairing. You always pair from the top and resolve ties/illegal pairing going one step down the list at a time.

Did you mess up? A bit. Do you owe an apology? No, shit happens. And from a neutral standpoint it's really a minor mistake. In some instances this could have been a benefit to Charlie. He was just unlucky to meet decks that beat his. Would he complain if he had won?! I understand his frustration as it sucks getting knocked out so late, but as a tournament director you will have to accept players that get disappointed.

But in case of prestige ties, do you not resolve them via match points?
 
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B C Z
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Sort the list of players

Pairing 1:
Attempt to pair highest unpaired person in list: Alpha.
Pair: Bravo
hasPreviouslyPlayed? = False; Pairing successful

Pairing 2:
Attempt to pair highest unpaired person in list: Charlie
Pair: Delta
hasPreviouslyPlayed? = True; Pairing fails
Pair: Echo
hasPreviouslyPlayed? = False; Pairing successful

Pairing 3:
Attempt to pair highest unpaired person in list: Delta
Pair: Foxtrot
hasPreviouslyPlayed? = False; Pairing successful

Pairing X:
Attempt to pair...

...

Pairing LAST:
Attempt to pair highest person on the list: Yucca
Pair: Zelda
hasPreviouslyPlayed? = True; Pairing fails
UNDO PREVIOUS PAIRING (Wilma, Xavier), MARK Wilma/Xavier invalid for this Round
Attempt to pair highest person on the list: Wilma
Pair: Xavier
hasPreviouslyPlayed? = INVALID THIS ROUND; Pairing unsuccessful
Pair: Yucca
hasPreviouslyPlayed? = False; Pairing successful

Attempt to pair highest person on the list: Xavier
Pair: Zelda
hasPreviouslyPlayed? = False; Pairing successful

COMPLETE.

It is necessary to hold pairings until all pairings are made, because you may have to 'unknit' the pairings until you get a complete set. The trick is that you don't want to perturb the higher valued players more than necessary.

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Bryan Blumklotz
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SonnyDK wrote:
I agree with Charlies pairing. You always pair from the top and resolve ties/illegal pairing going one step down the list at a time.

Did you mess up? A bit. Do you owe an apology? No, shit happens. And from a neutral standpoint it's really a minor mistake. In some instances this could have been a benefit to Charlie. He was just unlucky to meet decks that beat his. Would he complain if he had won?! I understand his frustration as it sucks getting knocked out so late, but as a tournament director you will have to accept players that get disappointed.

But in case of prestige ties, do you not resolve them via match points?


The answer is yes no.

In Swiss Qualifier rounds the ranking is sorted by:
Prestige Points --> Strength of Schedule Points --> Match Points

In Full Swiss rounds the ranking is sorted by:
Prestige Points --> Match Points --> Strength of Schedule Points

I sent a tourney rules clarification to FFG on this very topic. You can see the direct response here: [TOURNAMENT RULES] Scoring Questions Answered By Lukas


 
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Jeremy York
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Saracenus wrote:
SonnyDK wrote:
I agree with Charlies pairing. You always pair from the top and resolve ties/illegal pairing going one step down the list at a time.

Did you mess up? A bit. Do you owe an apology? No, shit happens. And from a neutral standpoint it's really a minor mistake. In some instances this could have been a benefit to Charlie. He was just unlucky to meet decks that beat his. Would he complain if he had won?! I understand his frustration as it sucks getting knocked out so late, but as a tournament director you will have to accept players that get disappointed.

But in case of prestige ties, do you not resolve them via match points?


The answer is yes. I sent a tourney rules clarification to FFG on this very topic. You can see the direct response here: [TOURNAMENT RULES] Scoring Questions Answered By Lukas


The post you link to says
Quote:
You only break ties by match points if you are not running an elimination bracket.


The official tournament rules say
Quote:
If there is an elimination bracket... Ties are broken by strength of schedule first (totalling up the prestige of each player's opponents) and then by a player's match points accrued during the tournament.


This was a tournament with a subsequent elimination bracket. Hence, the tiebreaker is strength of program, with match points as the second tiebreaker.
 
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Bryan Blumklotz
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auction_prune wrote:
Saracenus wrote:
SonnyDK wrote:
I agree with Charlies pairing. You always pair from the top and resolve ties/illegal pairing going one step down the list at a time.

Did you mess up? A bit. Do you owe an apology? No, shit happens. And from a neutral standpoint it's really a minor mistake. In some instances this could have been a benefit to Charlie. He was just unlucky to meet decks that beat his. Would he complain if he had won?! I understand his frustration as it sucks getting knocked out so late, but as a tournament director you will have to accept players that get disappointed.

But in case of prestige ties, do you not resolve them via match points?


The answer is yes. I sent a tourney rules clarification to FFG on this very topic. You can see the direct response here: [TOURNAMENT RULES] Scoring Questions Answered By Lukas


The post you link to says
Quote:
You only break ties by match points if you are not running an elimination bracket.


The official tournament rules say
Quote:
If there is an elimination bracket... Ties are broken by strength of schedule first (totalling up the prestige of each player's opponents) and then by a player's match points accrued during the tournament.


This was a tournament with a subsequent elimination bracket. Hence, the tiebreaker is strength of program, with match points as the second tiebreaker.


Whoops, misread the post. I thought he meant if Prestige Points are tied and Strength of Schedule Points are also tied, then you would use Match Points! DOH! Thanks for the catch, I am still tired after Regionals last Saturday. Got to get some more sleep.
 
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Jeremy York
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Thanks for the input, everyone. I think the consensus I'm seeing is (a) the basic procedure in a lock situation like this should be to demote, and (b) it was a mistake, but not a severe one, and some mistakes will happen when running a bigger tournament.

byronczimmer wrote:
Sort the list of players

Pairing 1:
Attempt to pair highest unpaired person in list: Alpha.
Pair: Bravo
hasPreviouslyPlayed? = False; Pairing successful
...lots of logic...
COMPLETE.

It is necessary to hold pairings until all pairings are made, because you may have to 'unknit' the pairings until you get a complete set. The trick is that you don't want to perturb the higher valued players more than necessary.



I would have been much happier building up a tool using a procedural language. As it was, I found the wysiwyg style of a spreadsheet was much better for building a tool. So, I was building up things mostly using Excel formula and conditional formatting, with some macros to automate some of the repetitive tasks.

So, rather than Byron's logic, as I said I was using a random number generator added to prestige, and sorting; with conditional formatting to highlight illegal pairings, and one-click re-randomization plus operator overrides on the ranking to get out of binds.

I may bite the bullet and try to code up what Byron describes, but it is pretty grungy doing that in VB on top of Excel. I'm hoping to clean up the spreadsheet I used, with help from a friend, and put it out there for people to evaluate. I'll probably do that first before trying the fully automated pairing logic.

I believe there's another fan-generated tool out there, that they used in Portland on the same day. From what I've heard, I had better turnaround times on matches with over twice as many people, but I don't know if that's because my tool is better or whether it was other factors that slowed things down...
 
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Jeremy Owens
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auction_prune wrote:
Anyway, Charlie felt the pairing I made cost him a spot in the finals.


Feel free to point out to "Charlie" that dropping the last match of Swiss 0-6 cost him a spot in the finals, not your pairings (and also feel free to point out there was still two rounds of matches prior to the finals.)

While you didn't follow the absolute letter of law for LCG/CCG Swiss, you did preserve the spirit of Swiss which is like vs like. 18v16 or 18v15 is an almost negligible difference.

Sounds like you did a fine job in my humble opinion.
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Jan Bazynski
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The best solution is to use programms that specialize in Swiss tournaments. According to the rules Charlie was right but everyone who has ever organised any sort of tournament knows how hard it is. That was a small mistake, you shouldn't worry about it
 
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Chris Wood
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bazyn wrote:
The best solution is to use programms that specialize in Swiss tournaments. According to the rules Charlie was right but everyone who has ever organised any sort of tournament knows how hard it is. That was a small mistake, you shouldn't worry about it


Do you have any suggestions of programs?
 
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Sam Witticaster

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malhaku wrote:
auction_prune wrote:
Anyway, Charlie felt the pairing I made cost him a spot in the finals.


Feel free to point out to "Charlie" that dropping the last match of Swiss 0-6 cost him a spot in the finals, not your pairings (and also feel free to point out there was still two rounds of matches prior to the finals.)

While you didn't follow the absolute letter of law for LCG/CCG Swiss, you did preserve the spirit of Swiss which is like vs like. 18v16 or 18v15 is an almost negligible difference.

Sounds like you did a fine job in my humble opinion.


I'm Charlie, real name Sam. At the time I was pretty angry because I was on the edge of the top 8 and took my only match loss of the day against someone I shouldn't have been paired against. We only had 4 swiss rounds in the tournament, so immediately afterwards the elimination finals began, and when I realized that I hadn't been in 2nd place, but rather 3rd prior to the round I felt like I had been cheated out of a chance to at least play in the top 8 games.

Since then I realize that this was just a mistake, and it's true that my dropping both games contributed more to my getting knocked out than anything else.

Regardless, I feel bad that Jeremy York had to run the tournament on his own, and I think he did the best he could in the circumstances, and want to thank him for his work.

To Jeremy Owens, I don't think you realize the position I was in. I had 15 prestige points and should have been paired against someone with 14 according to the standings. Instead I was paired against someone with 18.

It's true that it made little difference to the person with 18 prestige. But to me, at 15 prestige, the difference between an 18 prestige opponent and a 14 prestige opponent seems like more than a "negligible difference."

EDIT: Everyone's named Jeremy today, added last names.
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Scott Forster
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SonnyDK wrote:
I agree with Charlies pairing. You always pair from the top and resolve ties/illegal pairing going one step down the list at a time.

Did you mess up? A bit. Do you owe an apology? No, shit happens. And from a neutral standpoint it's really a minor mistake. In some instances this could have been a benefit to Charlie.


If this had been a couple of Magic players, for instance, pairing Charlie up would have been a boon. He had 15 points. There was a decent chance that 17 or 18 was going to be the cut. Alpha didn't need any points and Charlie could get in with 3. They could Intentionally Draw and get a nice break before the top 8.

Not sure if ID'ing is allowed in Netrunner or not, though.
 
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Dirk Tebben
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Intentional draws are not allowed in Netrunner, and are grounds for disqualification.
 
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stillnotking wrote:
Intentional draws are not allowed in Netrunner, and are grounds for disqualification.


snore Obviously top players will both realize they need to ID and find a way to agree to a draw in secret.
 
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Anthony Giovannetti
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"It's true that it made little difference to the person with 18 prestige. But to me, at 15 prestige, the difference between an 18 prestige opponent and a 14 prestige opponent seems like more than a "negligible difference."

I don't know that this is very true TBH. For example, the eventual tournament winner at this point in time had 12 prestige.

 
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Sam Witticaster

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SneakySly wrote:
"It's true that it made little difference to the person with 18 prestige. But to me, at 15 prestige, the difference between an 18 prestige opponent and a 14 prestige opponent seems like more than a "negligible difference."

I don't know that this is very true TBH. For example, the eventual tournament winner at this point in time had 12 prestige.


In game terms a difference of 4 prestige points is a difference of 2 game wins, or a single game win and a match win combined, that's what I mean by it being more than a negligible difference. In this tournament it was also the difference between 3rd place and 15th place.

Regardless, your point is taken, and I think Veen played a hell of a tournament and deserved to come out on top. I played against the decks he was using in my second round, piloted by Ian, and they were two of the most exciting Netrunner games I've ever had.
 
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